Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms-Fall/Winter

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
It was the last place I expected to learn the secret for the easiest rich and creamy risotto— Paris. It’s all in the technique. The hot stock is added all once, give it a stir, pop on the cover and in about 15-20 minutes you’ll have perfect risotto. Did I mention how easy it was?
If you can’t find porcini mushrooms use crimini mushrooms and pan roast them in olive oil with a little sea salt until crispy around the edges then stir them in the risotto at the end. You don’t need to add the taleggio but I love the complex flavor it adds. If you have leftovers make arancini to go with your favorite bubbly. Pair this with a Pinot Noir from Carneros like Acacia’s Lone Tree Vineyard.
Serves 10

1½ ounces dry porcini mushrooms
1 cup very hot water
6 cups vegetable/chicken stock
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots
Sea Salt to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary (if you don’t have fresh just omit)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups Carnaroli or Arborio Rice
¼ cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or chardonnay)
3 ounces taleggio cheese, in small cubes
2 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated, plus cheese curls for garnish

1. Soak the porcini in hot water for about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and reserve. Check the mushrooms for any grit that may still be attached and remove. Chop them into ½-inch pieces.

2. Heat the vegetable/chicken stock in a saucepan and keep just below a simmer. In a large, heavy pan heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the shallots, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mushrooms, and a little salt and cook until the shallots are transparent and soft.

3. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Pour in the porcini soaking liquid from step 1 and 3 cups of the chicken/vegetable stock all at once to the rice and bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Keep at a low simmer over medium heat, stirring every couple of minutes until the rice is just al dente, 12-15 minutes. Begin tasting the rice after about 10 minutes to check the texture (you want it to be tender like a soft walnut). The mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. If the rice is not soft enough and the stock has evaporated too much, add some more hot stock or water. Taste the rice again to test for doneness which could take as long as 20 minutes to reach this stage. The risotto should be very runny at this stage almost like a thick soup and the rice al dente.

4. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, taleggio, and butter. Taste and correct the seasonings. Remove the thyme sprigs prior to serving. Garnish with Parmesan shavings.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie